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If you’re looking to hire a PR agency, it’s important to know what to look for, and better yet, what to watch out for. It could mean the difference between seeing immediate success or experiencing a huge failure and loss of money. You want to find the best PR agency that will be a partner for your business on multiple levels. The PR agency you hire should be able to identify the most critical key performance indicators, keeping your company on the path to success.

Without a doubt, a PR agency’s experience, client portfolio, and overall skill are always important. But don’t’ overlook the value of having an agency that you feel comfortable working with and who you feel is truly listening to you and leadership team. In this article, we’ll give you some helpful tips on how to weed through all the agencies and find the perfect PR partner for your business.

What Is Their Story?

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Ask questions about how they started their PR agency and what has been their story from the beginning until now. Try and get an understanding of their culture and their level of passion for what they do. How long do employees typically stay on with that agency? If they have a low turnover rate, the odds improve that you’ll be able to work with the same core team for years to come.

Who Exactly Will Be Managing Your Account?

In many occasions, this can make or break how successful you will be with your PR agency. Make sure you find out in advance who will be taking the point on your account. What is their experience and how many accounts have they managed. Also, don’t forget to ask how many accounts they currently handle and how many people will be on their team.

Meet the manager that you’ll be working with directly and try to get a feeling for how they work. If you don’t get a great feeling about them being on the same page with you, continue to research agencies. One dirty little trick that some larger agencies do is that they bill you for having a senior manager but end up handing you off to an entry level person or even worse, an intern. Make sure you don’t let this happen to you.

What Won’t They Do For You?

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It’s easy to find a PR agency that will say yes to anything you ask in regards to what they’ll do for your business. To save you some time and make things easier to examine, try asking your potential PR agency what they do not do. If you eliminate the short list of items that they don’t do, it will be easier to get to the heart of what they excel in and how they will use their strengths to help grow your business.

What Is Their Strategy?

Take a close look at how your potential PR agency executes its strategy for promoting your business. Examine their system for managing your projects and be sure that it is a good fit with your team and methodology.

Have They Done Their Homework?

A great way to determine if a PR agency is a perfect partner is by seeing if they’ve done their homework regarding your business. If you meet with your agency and they’ve taken the time to clearly understand your brand, line of products and services, you might want to consider them as a finalist in your search. If they don’t come prepared and don’t have a solid grasp of your brand, you might consider moving on to other agencies.

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Also, consider your potential PR agency’s understanding of your industry and local market. Score them extra points if they have worked with similar businesses within your industry and have several years or more of experience in your local market. You also might find that a PR agency specializes in the hospitality industry, but your business is in the medical industry.

Can You Count On Them?

That last and most important question you should have when hiring a PR agency is can you trust them? Can you count on them to deliver on what they promise? Will they be available for you and your team if you have questions? Always, always, always ask for references and check several sites online for reviews. Dig into the reviews to make sure they look legitimate. Even if a PR agency has done their homework, are great communicators and have a clear understanding of your business and industry, if they have a poor track record of delivering on their word, you might consider a different agency.

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